LITTLE ORPHANT ANNIE
starring Colleen Moore
Once in a blue moon a film is produced that shows real genius in the making. Such a film was "The Blue Bird," and such a film is "Little Orphant Annie." The cheaply sophisiticated may as well stay away from this picture; only those who believe in fairies, and who dare meet face to face the souls of little children, had better attend its performance. For out of the fragile fragment of verse that is best-loved of all Riley's child poems by children themselves, a wonderful picture has been made.
There is only a thread of story: the tale of a litle girl in an orphan asylum, a child of sadness and dramas; a child with a sight that penetrates the outer shell of the flesh and looks in upon the things of the spirit. Annie goes to live in a farmhouse, where there are other children, and she keeps those children in a ferment of suspense with her ghost tales, her fairy stories, her goblins that "will get you if you don't watch out."
But Annie is a hero-worshipper, among her few friends is Dave, a big-hearted farmer, who is responsible for whatever little good life has brought to "Orphant Annie." Dave goes to war and is killed. That is the last stroke of Fate for Annie. She falls ill and dies, believing hat she will join her dear mother of memory in the Beautiful World.
There is an eluseiveness of tenderness and pathos in the picture that reaches the heart. And Colleen Moore endows the character of Annie with a sweet humanness that makes the more plausible that other ethereal self, which creates around the little girl, Annie, a world of shadows and mystery. It takes art to make the unreal seem real, and the delicacy with which the invisible is drawn forth and made visible gives the picture a strange, almost uncanny, power and appeal.
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